Fresh funds to continue rough sleeper support in North Devon

The Homelessness Outreach team is made up of staff from the council and the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple

The Homelessness Outreach team is made up of staff from the council and the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple - Credit: NDC

A fresh allocation of government funding will help ensure rough sleepers in North Devon will continue to be supported.

North Devon Council has been granted £347,194 by the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government (MHCLG) as a result of a recent funding bid by its housing team.

The Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) funding will be used to pay for rough sleeper services in conjunction with local partners for 2021/22.

The council will be working with Devon Partnership Trust, Together Drug and Alcohol Service, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, Freedom Community Alliance and Encompass Southwest to continue providing a number of services, including:  

  • a full time Mental Health Community Psychiatric Nurse
  • a full time Drug and Alcohol Specialist  
  • Outreach Navigators  
  • a bespoke GP surgery based at the Freedom Centre one day a week
  • a Physical Health Nurse
  • additional units of supported accommodation with staff attached
  • continuation of Housing First accommodation plus two additional units
  • spot purchase temporary accommodation and winter provision
  • additional funding for bespoke interventions dependent on client need

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Lead member for Housing at North Devon Council, Councillor Nicola Topham said: “We are very grateful to have been granted this funding from the MHCLG, which will enable us to continue the positive work we are doing with rough sleepers over the next 12 months.

“Our aim is to get people off the streets and into settled accommodation, and to give them the support and skills they need to reintegrate into the community.”

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The council's housing team has continued its hard work during the coronavirus pandemic, helping the district's rough sleepers into accommodation to keep them safe.

The Homelessness Outreach team, made up of staff from the council and the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple, has been undertaking regular welfare checks on those who are choosing not to accept bricks and mortar accommodation.

They have also provided a mobile phone to each rough sleeper so they can maintain regular contact.

Between March 2020 and March 2021, 70 rough sleepers were housed and 46 are in either settled or supported accommodation. Only five out of the 70 have returned to rough sleeping with ongoing attempts being made to resolve their homelessness.

If you believe you are at risk of becoming homeless, get in touch with North Devon Council as soon as you can on 01271 388870 or email customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk.

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